Open letter | Зеленый мир

Open letter

To:

  • Members of the State Duma Committee on Natural Resources, Environment and Ecology, Member of the Committee, Nikolay A. Kuzmin, Sosnovy Bor, Leningrad Region;
  • Members of the Standing Commission on the Environment and Natural Resources, the Legislative Assembly of Leningrad Region, Deputy Chairperson of Mikhail T. Vivsyanyi, Sosnovy Bor, Leningrad Region.
  • Members of the Standing Commission on Natural Resource Use and Ecology, the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg, Chairperson Viktor P. Lozhechko.

RE: Safety of Leningrad NPP-2

Sosnovy Bor, 3 March 2016 Number 0303 / 2016-1

Open letter

Dear Deputies,
I ask you with the participation of independent experts to initiate a full investigation of the facts stated in the open letter of the construction worker of Leningrad NPP-2 Victor Petrovich Aleinikov, a "veteran of nuclear energy and industry" of Russia.
The text of his inquiry (50 pages) was delivered to our organization 29 February 2016 in the attachment of this letter. The video message from Viktor P. Aleynikov is available on the Internet here: http://youtu.be/I1jS8vabFik
Confirmation of the facts stated in these documents http://greenworld.org.ru/sites/default/greenfiles/%20%D0%BE%D0%B1%D1%80%D0%B0%D1%89%D0%B5%D0%BD%D0%B8%D0%B5%20%D1%81%20%D0%9F%D1%80%D0%B8%D0%BB%D0%BE%D0%B6%D0%B5%D0%BD%D0%B8%D1%8F%D0%BC%D0%B8.pdf may mean that the construction of the first stage of the Leningrad NPP-2 has the following violations:
• Falsification of the documents regarding the mode of heat treatment of welds of pipelines of the primary circuit of the reactor VVER-1200 and those technological regulations provided by the project;
• Carrying out of the heat treatment of welds of pipelines of the primary circuit of the reactor VVER-1200 staff without appropriate qualifications or without having undergone the full training cycle (manufacturing practices provided treater training program);
• Use of equipment (thermocouples) that has not passed state certification when registering the heat treatment of welds of pipelines of the primary circuit of the reactor VVER-1200;
• Violation of temperature regulation of the concrete in the construction of nuclear facilities in the winter (at negative air temperatures);
• Improper installation of the technology of materials for the handling equipment to service the reactor facility;
• Low level of technological culture and oversight, lack of effective control of the quality of work;
• Corruption schemes of interaction of employers and implementing construction and installation work, theft of materials and material resources of the federal budget of Russia in the construction of Leningrad NPP-2.
Overall, in the case of confirmation of the specified violations noted by V.P. Aleinikov, we can talk about systemic violations of the first stage of Leningrad NPP-2, by which the nuclear facility will not meet the design specifications of safety. In particular, a break in the first loop of the pipeline break could result in the loss of coolant and meltdown of the reactor core. As a result, under unfavorable circumstances, emergency situations may become a reality in the case of operation of the first power unit of Leningrad NPP-2 in 2017.
Such an accident could have long-term negative social, environmental and political implications for Leningrad Region, St. Petersburg, Northwest Russia, the entire Baltic region, where about 100 million people live in 9 countries.
I would ask you please to send the results of the investigation to me at Box 68/7, 188544 Sosnovy Bor, Leningrad Region.

Sincerely,
Oleg Bodrov, physicist, ecologist,
Green World Chairperson
mob. +7 921 74 52 631

Attachment :

Viktor Aleynikov Open Letter To NGO Green World (not official English Version. The original of the Letter, in Russian with appendixes is hear: http://greenworld.org.ru/sites/default/greenfiles/%20%D0%BE%D0%B1%D1%80%D0%B0%D1%89%D0%B5%D0%BD%D0%B8%D0%B5%20%D1%81%20%D0%9F%D1%80%D0%B8%D0%BB%D0%BE%D0%B6%D0%B5%D0%BD%D0%B8%D1%8F%D0%BC%D0%B8.pdf

To: Non-governmental charitable environmental organisation Green World,
the town of Sosnovy Bor of the Leningrad Region, Russia

Open letter from
Victor Petrovich Aleynikov,
“Veteran of nuclear power engineering and industry” of Russia

29.02.2016
The town of Sosnovy Bor of the Leningrad Region

Dear fellow countrymen,

I turn to you, because my experience from earlier appeals to my immediate superiors at the construction site of Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant 2 (LNPP-2) and to governmental supervising bodies have not led to expected results. At the same time, possible global negative consequences of construction technology violations at LNPP-2 may cause danger not only to inhabitants of Sosnovy Bor, but also of St. Petersburg, the North-West Region of Russia and the Baltic Sea countries.

Being aware of the responsibility for these possible consequences, I decided to turn to you in the hope that the facts presented by me will help rectify the violations witnessed by me. I hope that in the Russian society exist forces able to correct the dangerous situation.

I will tell about the general atmosphere and moods among the builders of LNPP-2, about construction technology violations, falsifications of the results of the heat treatment of the welding joints of the main circulation water line (MCWL) of the primary circuit of pressurised water reactor VVER-1200 in the reactor hall of the first power unit of LNPP-2, and also about financial frauds and other offences.

My professional path in the atomic industry before the construction of LNPP-2

I am Victor Aleynikov. Large part of my professional activity is associated with the atomic industry. I was recently awarded the badge of honour “Veteran of Nuclear Power Engineering and Industry” (Appendix 1).

After graduation from the shipbuilding technical college of the city of Nikolaev (the Ukrainian SSR) with the qualification of ship electrical technician (Appendix 2), I was in 1978 sent to work to the town of Sosnovy Bor of the Leningrad Region, to the Scientific Research Technological Institute (NITI), where I participated in tests of various ship nuclear reactors for submarines. My last position in the institute was ”operator in control of the electric power system of a nuclear submarine reactor” in Building 103 (Appendix 3). This was interesting and creative work (Appendix 4).

In 1991, I transferred to work at the Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant in the Department of Thermal Automatics and Measurements as an electrician for maintenance of automatics and measuring instruments (Appendices 5 and 6).

I worked in buildings 460, 660, 661, and 667, which belonged to the so-called Liquid Radioactive Waste Storage Facility (LRWSF) complex, where radioactive water was delivered from LNPP through a special sewer. In buildings 460 and 660, this water was evaporated till only radioactive salt residues remained. Radioactive salt residues were mixed with bitumen and dispatched to Building 667 for storage.

What future generations will do with this enormous reserve of radioactive bitumen and other radioactive materials, I do not know.

MY WORK IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF LENINGRAD NPP-2

From 16th November 2009 through January 2010, I worked for the closed joint-stock company ZAO Tonnelnyi Otryad-3 of the St. Petersburg company Metrostroi in the construction of LNPP-2 (Appendices 7, 8, and 9).

Technology violations during the concreting of objects at LNPP-2

I saw with my own eyes technology violations during the construction of LNPP-2, e.g., during performance of concreting works.

For example, concrete pouring, according to my superior, should have been performed at a temperature not below +10ºC. These temperature conditions were violated during concreting. When outdoor temperature was below zero and concreting of buildings 10 UKT (fresh nuclear fuel storage facility) and 10 UKA (safety building) was performed, the management gave an order to save diesel fuel and not to use all of the Galaxy blow heaters, which were intended for heating, when concreting was performed in heated enclosures. As a result, the temperature conditions for concreting were violated.

Because of this and other violations, I wrote to Mr Chaika, Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation, but the answer was only a formal reply from Mr Kalyuzhny, Vice President of the SPbAEP Atomic Research and Design Institute. Then I had to turn to the media about this and other problems which may affect safe use of LNPP-2. I gave interviews which were published in Russia on television channel TV100 SPb. (Appendix 10), and also in the Focus magazine (Germany) (Appendix 11).

Technology violations during welding works

From February 2010 till 1st February 2016, I worked as an adjuster of welding and gas-рlasm-cutting equipment at MSU-90 (Appendix 12).

My task was to repair and maintain welding and gas-рlasm-cutting equipment, including those located on the LNPP-2 construction site.

MSU-90 is part of the TITAN-2 Group, managed by Grigory Mikhailovich Naginsky, former member of the Federation Council (senator) from the Leningrad Region, former deputy of the Russian Defence Minister (Serdyukov), former Director General of the Russian Federal Agency for Special Construction (SpetsStroi), now Chairman of the Board of Directors of TITAN-2 Group.

Falsifications during training of heat treatment operators

In March 2013, Chief Welder of MSU-90 (at that time, that position was held by A.V. Shubinsky) sent me to a course to study to be an operator of movable heat treatment units. When I asked, why I, an adjuster, needed it, and how would it be in my interest, Deputy Chief Engineer Nikolay Ivanovich Gusev answered that the intention was to perform heat treatment of crucial welded joints of the pipeline of the primary circuit of the reactors of LNPP-2 which was under construction, and also of other crucial weld joints of the new plant, and for this, heat treatment operators were needed and would get extra pay.

A group was formed (Appendix 31) to study to be heat treatment operators, consisting of me, my colleague adjuster Andrey Prosvirin, and the following installers of MSU-90:

1. Abdullaev Mamedkerim Alamed Ogly
2. Anokhin Vladimir Vasilyevich
3. Lukin Mikhail Nikolaevich
4. Makarov Pavel Aleksandrovich
5. Salnikov Vasily Aleksandrovich
6. Tudvasev Aleksandr Gennadyevich

From the private educational institution North-West Training Centre Elektromontazh (licence 1185 of 20.01.2012, St. Petersburg, Kolpinsky District, settlement Petr-Slavyanka, Sofiyskaya street, building 96, lit. AF, telephone/fax 274-62-64) came two teachers, and on the premises of the safety department in the administration of MSU-90, a theoretical course in heat treatment was held for us lasting two or three weeks. Then we performed in the Bentam building two practical heat treatment test jobs.

My immediate superior, Andrey Vladimirovich Shubinsky, gave me a ”Journal of professional practice of a student of vocational further education courses”, saying that we still had to complete practical training in the training centre of the educational institution, where I would have to fill in the journal (Appendix 13 on 5 pages).

But after this there was no further training. I thought that further training was postponed to unspecified future.

In autumn 2013, for a trip to LNPP-2, I needed my adjuster’s certificate, which was in the chief’s office. For this purpose, I went to the office of my chief Shubinsky, who at that time was on vacation and substituted by another person. Searching for my certificate, I was surprised to find in the chief’s desk a diploma, and after opening it, to see that it was a diploma of an “operator of movable heat treatment units”, No. 040-13, issued on 3rd June 2013 and written in my name, without my having any idea of it. I had not gone through any practical lessons, of which my superior A.V. Shubinsky had spoken earlier, nor evaluations or examinations for the qualification of an operator of movable heat treatment units. It came out of the blue (Appendix 14).

I asked the installers, with whom I had attended the heat treatment operator course, had they seen their diplomas? They answered to this that they had not seen any diplomas and had no knowledge of this. As far as I can see, diplomas were written in our names, though we had not fully completed the training and there had been no practical lessons, evaluations or examinations. We were not even informed that we all were certified heat treatment operators.

In early 2014, the new Chief Welder of MSU-90, Ruslan Nikolaevich Sekachev, asked me to give him a photocopy of my heat treatment operator’s diploma which I had taken and kept. When I asked, why he needed it, he gave no sensible answer, saying only that since MSU-90 had trained me, MSU-90 must have a confirmation of this. I gave him a photocopy of the fake heat treatment operator’s diploma.

Technology violations relating to heat treatment of the main circulation water line (MCWL) of the first power unit of LNPP-2

At the end of 2013 and beginning of 2014, R.N. Sekachev, Chief Welder of MSU-90, said that they wanted to send me to LNPP-2 Turbine Hall No. 2 to perform heat treatment of crucial weld joints of a ring which was the base of some big and important cistern. In this connection I suggested to him that he should conclude with me and MSU-90 an additional employment contract stating that I as an adjuster will additionally attend to the duties of another specialist, a heat treatment operator. Sekachev refused, saying that Deputy Chief Engineer Gusev had said that it had to be moonlighting. To this I answered to Sekachev that I agree to moonlighting, but for 5,000 roubles for a shift. I was interested to see his reaction to this. And received the answer that he (Sekachev) will consult this with Deputy Chief Engineer Gusev. When I met Sekachev after a week, I asked him: ”What has Gusev decided about heat treatment?” Sekachev answered that Gusev did not agree. And then I was sent to perform heat treatment of weld joints as an adjuster. In this capacity I only controlled the working order of the Weldotherm heat treatment unit and had to repair its faults, if such occurred.

The process of the ring’s heat treatment was controlled by some Ukrainian installers perhaps from Kharkov or Donetsk, who did not have a heat operator’s qualification (!!!) and worked on the staff of MSU-90 as installers, and I just saw to it that the unit itself was in order.

In September 2014, welding and heat treatment of welded joints of the main circulation water line (MCWL) of the first power unit of LNPP-2 started.

The MCWL of the primary circuit of the reactor consists of four independent loops. Each loop consists of a steam generator, the main circulation pump (MCP), and pipes, which are joined by means of seven weld joints. Each loop has two weld joints of the MCWL with the reactor itself, two weld joints with the steam generator, two with MCP, and one weld joint of the pipeline between MCP and the steam generator. Thus, there is a total of 28 weld joints on the four loops of the main circulation water line of the primary circuit of the power unit equipped with reactor VVER-1200.

The welders spoke among themselves that each joint costs 8 million roubles, that is, the entire work cost approximately 228 million roubles.

MSU-90 Chief Welder Sekachev first wanted to send me to perform heat treatment of the MCWL as a heat treatment operator, but I refused to do it without an additional employment contract on heat operator’s work. Then, as had already happened before, I was sent to the LNPP-2 reactor hall as an adjuster, just to repair the heat treatment units and correct their possible faults.

Heat treatment procedures included ”heating for welding”, and after the joint’s welding and quality control followed “high tempering” of the welded joint and its “stress relief”. These operations were performed using two types of heat treatment units: three German Weldotherms (Appendix 15) and three Russian high-frequency induction units called Kurai (Appendix 16).

Weldotherms worked practically impeccably, but Kurai got often broken and had to be repaired. The staff’s work was arranged in 12-hour shifts. In October 2014 alone, we did 21 shifts, that is, 252 working hours in a month. So intense a working schedule increases the probability of mistakes in work (Appendix 17 on 3 pages).

Here it is necessary to say that when I was sent to this work, I agreed to it only on the condition that the work will be paid for in accordance with the Russian labour legislation. That is, shift work and evening and night work would be taken into account. MSU-90 Chief Welder Sekachev promised me that payment would be made in accordance with the Russian labour legislation. But when we got our pay, we saw that we all had been deceived and had been paid as if we had worked only during daytime. The welders, heat treatment operators and electricians, all workers who had been directly involved in the installation, welding and heat treatment of the MCWL, were dissatisfied. But all were already used to continuous deceit and said that it’s useless to do anything at all about it.

Indignant at this deceit, I decided to resign and on 17th November 2014 wrote a resignation letter (Appendix 18). After the night shift, in the morning I went to the Bentam building and gave this letter to Chief Welder Sekachev. He promised to settle the matter. In the evening of the same day I received from bank a text message stating that the lacking payment to me had been made, and I withdrew my resignation letter. Apparently the administration got scared that many will resign as I did, and there will be no-one left to perform the welding and heat treatment of the primary circuit MCWL, and they will get into trouble.

The matter was settled. But dissatisfaction with the attempted deceit remained. For a long time, it remained a topic of discussions among the workers involved in the installation, welding and heat treatment of the MCWL of the primary circuit of the LNPP-2 reactor.

Thus, diplomas of heat treatment operators were registered for workers who had not completed practical training and had not passed the examinations of heat treatment operators. Responsible heat treatment operators’ work, which requires high qualification, was performed by workers with fake diplomas, and attempts were made to pay for completed work less than was required by the Russian Federation labour legislation.

At the end of 2014, when I came to my work shift after a holiday and checked the equipment, I opened the control cabinet of the Kurai heat treatment unit. I was very surprised to see unauthorised equipment on the terminal block, to which were connected wires from the thermocouples that controlled the temperature of the heat treatment of the MCWL’s weld joint with the reactor. This inappropriately connected equipment consisted of four variable resistors, by means of which the true thermal electromotive force of the thermocouples could be changed during the weld joints’ heat treatment. Thanks to this ”craft”, the heat treatment operator can, by regulating the variable resistance, at his will change the weld joint heat treatment diagram. This makes it possible to show in the heat treatment protocol of such a joint any temperature necessary for the technology, even though the real temperature value may be quite different.

I discovered this violation at the end of “high tempering” (heat treatment lasting several hours), the purpose of which was to remove the retained stress of one of the weld joints of the connection of the third loop of MCWL with the reactor pressure vessel. The process of high-quality heat treatment of this connection is very important, because removal of internal stress from the weld joint has direct impact on strength, operating life and safety during the future use of both the reactor itself and the entire nuclear power plant. Violation of its treatment technology may cause destruction of this welded joint and lead to pollution of the North-West Region of Russia and of the Baltic Sea.

I reported this violation to my immediate superior engineer and wrote a remark concerning this on his work computer for conveyance of this information to Chief Welder of MSU-90. My immediate superior, too, was very indignant at this and spoke of possible future consequences.

I disconnected these variable resistors and threw them to the garbage to avoid this happening again. Later I asked workers of the next shift, who had done it, but they denied that it was done by one of them.

When I came to my work shift on 5th January 2015 and checked the Kurai equipment after the ”high tempering” of a weld joint of MCWL (I do not remember it now exactly, but it was probably one of the weld joints of MCWL of the first or second loop of the reactor’s primary circuit), I discovered that alongside the compensation wire of the thermocouple of control point No. 2 was again (!!!) connected a variable resistor. To have proof of this, I photographed with my mobile phone this attachment and also the high tempering diagram on the recorder (Appendices 19 and 20). After this, I reported this incident to my shift’s senior engineer, who, as the first time, was now, too, very indignant at this fact.

On 13th January 2015, during our shift, was started the ”high tempering” of weld joint No. 7 of the fourth loop of the MCWL of the primary circuit of the reactor of the first power unit of LNPP-2. The temperature of control point VK3 was lower than the temperatures of other control points, and did not fall within the permitted heat treatment limits. Thinking that the operating thermocouple may be out of order and show too low values, I replaced the operating thermocouple of control point VK3 with its backup thermocouple. But the readings of the backup were even lower. I said to my shift chief, who was in charge of heat treatment, that the problem is probably not the thermocouples, but heating mats incorrectly placed by heating operators. Or plugs inside the pipe were incorrectly installed, and therefore there was not enough heat in the region of control point VK3. This was why temperature in that place was lower and did not fall within the limits permitted by the design conditions of heat treatment.

I suggested that the started ”high tempering” should be stopped and the reasons causing violation of the design conditions of heat treatment eliminated. My superior answered saying that we could not stop, because that would make the heat treatment last some days longer, and the management would punish us for the delay. He took the backup thermocouple block from VK6, an entirely different control point, which was located in an entirely different point of the treated weld joint, and connected it to the compensation cable of the “problematic” control point VK3. The temperature readings of this thermocouple from another control point VK6 coincided ideally with the diagram graph required according to regulations.

After this my superior wrote on the diagram itself ”Disconnection of thermocouple, switched to backup”, which was actually true (it was a backup thermocouple, but it did not back point VK3, it backed point VK6). As a result, the heat treatment process was falsified (Appendices 21 and 22). Due to this, the strength of this weld joint of the primary circuit pipeline will not comply with the design requirements.

After this I on my own initiative climbed into the pipeline through the MCP and saw that the plugs in the section of this pipeline had not been tightly installed by the heating operators, and there was a rather big gap in the upper part of the plug. This is probably why due to cold air current control point VK3 did not have enough time to reach the necessary temperature during the heat treatment. This was the heating operators’ blunder. But the fictitious protocol of the results of this weld seam’s heat treatment showed that all had been done according to regulations.

That day is stamped in my memory also because a delegation from Hungary visited the reactor hall and their photographer photographed everything in the reactor hall, and Deputy Director of LNPP, told them about the reliability of this new power plant which was under construction.

It should be noted that only part of the thermocouples that were used for heat treatment had initially undergone official inspection and had their own number. Large part of the thermocouples had not undergone official inspection. Many thermocouples broke down after heat treatment, and we adjusters, each during their shift, repaired them. We changed parts, made wire-wraps at the thermocouple sensor connection point, and TIG welders welded the ends. Thermocouples thus rehabilitated do not undergo official inspection of accuracy of temperature measurement before they are again used for heat treatment of weld joints.

After the heat treatment of MCWL weld joints, I returned to my main working place in the Bentam building, which belonged to MSU-90 of Holding Company Titan-2. But from time to time I had to go to LNPP-2 to repair welding equipment or Weldotherm heat treatment units, which had been transferred to the premises of Turbine Hall No. 1 of the first power unit of LNPP-2. There heat treatment of weld joints of pipelines continued with their help.

On 21st February 2015, when I came to the power plant, to LNPP-2 Turbine Hall No. 1 to repair the Weldotherm unit (Appendix 23), I discovered to my surprise that a man whom I didn’t know was performing heat treatment at the next heat treatment unit. I asked him: ”Where are the heating operators?” From his answer I found out that the heating operators, dissatisfied with the pay, had refused to perform heat treatment, and heat treatment was performed by Ukrainian installers who worked at MSU-90. They did not have appropriate qualification, but could not refuse from the offered work in fear of losing their job.

On 25th February 2015, when I came to the Bentam building, I saw a unit in operation in one of the welding chambers, where new welders weld samples for evaluation and acceptance to work. It consisted of a welding transformer feeding the heating mats, which in their turn heated a large piece of metal wrapped in thermal insulation. A heat treatment program was fed into the programming device Teromdat-14E, it controlled the contactor which powered the heating mats, and a recorder drew a diagram of the heat treatment (Appendices 24, 25, and 26). Surprised at what I saw, I asked a colleague adjuster, who was doing this, what this was all about. He told me that some heat treatment diagram at LNPP-2 had been rejected and now they “drew” it anew, or more precisely, falsified by means of elementary forgery. I do not want to mention this adjuster’s name, knowing that after that he could get into trouble. If he had refused to do it, the management would have fired him.

Fear of losing their job is what forces employees to agree and commit clear violations of construction technology and forgery. Fear of negative consequences: after all, correcting mistakes takes time! That’s money! It’s easier and simpler to fabricate the necessary result of heat treatment and be quiet about arising problems. Those who find in themselves the power not to agree and to contradict the management do not stay long. Because they are given work with the lowest pay, and finally they simply resign.

Atmosphere of theft, corruption, and staff turnover at the LNPP-2 construction site

Working in the Chief Welder’s Department (CWD) of MSU-90 of Holding Company Titan-2, I wondered in 2013–2015, why new welders from all regions of Russia were constantly coming to work to us at LNPP-2. They underwent evaluation and went to work to the welding zone. I even joked that there, at the LNPP-2 construction site, “they are probably burned” and therefore new ones had to be recruited.

Some welders were recruited to work at LNPP-2 through brokerage firms. They got their wages from those brokerage firms, but the actual work at the LNPP-2 construction site was performed under the supervision of MSU-90 of Holding Company Titan-2. According to my estimate, up to 70% of welders at the LNPP-2 welding zone did not stay longer than 3–4 months. Why?

Here is a concrete example. By the administration of MSU-90, I met an acquaintance, a welder from Kaliningrad, who in Turbine Hall No. 2 (LNPP-2) participated in the welding of cooling condensers. He told me that he was resigning. When I asked why, he answered: "Yeah Jam everything in this Company! I came here to work and make money, but foreman suggested that he’d mark in the shift schedule that I work on Saturday and Sunday, but I needn’t come. And the money I should then give to him. But I want to work; I came here to earn money. I told the foreman that I don’t agree and will come to work on Saturday and Sunday… After that, foreman has given me the lousiest job with the lowest pay. That much I can earn at home in Kaliningrad, too.”

This is an example of the behaviour of an “insolent” foreman. There is also the ”bashful” type of foreman. He comes and says to a welder, could you lend me 10,000 roubles for a week. After a week he comes and says: “Sorry, I don’t have money now, but I’ll mark workdays for you for Saturday and Sunday and you needn’t come, you can rest. And the money I owe you, you’ll get in your wages.”

Therefore it’s not surprising that when you go to the smoking area by the entrance to the LNPP-2 Reactor Hall No. 1, you see this kind of texts on the walls (Appendix 27).

And if you go all over the LNPP-2 construction site and take a look at the walls inside the temporary toilets, you learn a lot of the real thoughts and morals of workers recruited by various subcontractors to “the century’s construction project LNPP-2”. Of course, that state of mind is also reflected in the quality of construction, installation and adjustment work.

Change of heat treatment units’ expensive recorders. Why?

It needs to be said that initially the German Weldotherm heat treatment units were equipped with other, standard recorders for registration of the heat treatment schedule. But there was a problem of changing registration dates and times, which were determined once and later fixed these parameters in the heat treatment protocol. The technical operation description in Russian did not contain clear instructions on how to change the date and time, though it was possible, as I myself saw in May 2013. But this caused difficulties for the heating operator attending to it, for example, in setting an earlier registration date. I examined this myself, and I have even kept my emails of the 30th and 31st May 2013, which I wrote to Chief Welder Shubinsky and MSU-90 Deputy Chief Engineer Gusev. I demonstrated the procedure to V.V. Meike, Head of MSU-90 Welding Zone (Appendices 28 and 29).

Possibly due to these difficulties in changing the date and time to earlier in these recording devices, which gave no opportunity to easily falsify and manipulate heat treatment diagrams in the future, a decision was taken to substitute all standard recorders of Weldotherm units with others, in which it was easy to change the date and time and fix a past date and time. In the end, the standard recorders were substituted with Japanese MR20000 recorders of the company YOKOGAWA. But this is only my assumption.

Theft on the construction site

Thefts are not rare at LNPP-2 either. When I was still working at Tonnelnyi Otryad No. 3 (TO-3) of Metrostroi, I witnessed a case, when the deputy chief of the zone gave his workers an order to steal a water tank from the neighbour organisation, and this was done. Then workers of TO-3 stole boards from the neighbours and built for themselves a shack for warming themselves, because the management said to them that they should solve the shack problem themselves. Later all their electric instruments were stolen from that shack. The Law of Karma.

In autumn 2013, someone cut at night six 40-meter conductor loops from semi-automatic welding machines of Turbine Hall No. 2, containing copper power cable 95 square millimetres in cross section, and then I had to repair them. Someone profited well by that copper. There was a lot of it.

In the same Turbine Hall No. 2, the door of the MSU-90 premises was later broken open and more than ten grinders were stolen, and at another time approx. ten small welding inverters were stolen from the same place. These are only the cases that I know of, but what how many cases are there of which I don’t know?

But as we know, fish never starts to rot from its tail. All simply look up to the management, both in theft and in false reporting.

Deviations from equipment installation technology

Towards the end of 2013, a polar crane had to be installed in Reactor Hall No. 1. Grigory Naginsky, who at that time was in charge of Spetsstroy (Federal Agency for Special Construction), which was the chief contractor of LNPP-2, as workers spoke among themselves, had promised someone in Moscow that the polar crane would be installed and mounted before New Year 2014. At that time I serviced semi-automatic welding machines used for welding the bases for the polar crane’s rails. First the rails had to be laid on levels and then the polar crane mounted on them. But geodesists couldn’t determine the necessary levels with the necessary tolerance, time passed, all were nervous, until Naginsky by his own decision ordered to lay parts of the rails opposite each other, mount the polar crane on them, and lay the rest of the rails after New Year. This was done, but it was apparent violation of technological order. On the other hand, Moscow was “satisfied”.

Holding Company Titan-2 describes itself as ”the best builders in the world”, even prints calendars with such texts (Appendix 30), but having worked in its structural division MSU-90, I was convinced of the opposite, both at the LNPP-2 construction site and in MSU-90 itself.

Conclusion

Violations of the technology of heat treatment of weld joints of the reactor’s primary circuit and falsification of their results, described above, are difficult to understand for those who are not specialists. Therefore, to put it plainly, one can say that the strength of the reactor’s primary circuit and the duration of its safe use, which are guaranteed by the project, may not be true in reality.

After LNPP-2’s introduction, in the primary circuit of reactor VVER-1200 may occur a seal failure similar to the one so vibrantly depicted in the movie ”The China Syndrome”.

My opinion is that this threat can only be eliminated, if qualified professionals with sufficient practical experience perform a new high-quality heat treatment of those primary circuit weld joints, for whose part the heat treatment procedure was not complied with or its results were falsified.

[Signed]

Victor Petrovich Aleynikov,
“Veteran of nuclear power engineering and industry” of Russia,
former adjuster of electric welding
and gas-рlasm-cutting equipment of
Chief Welder’s Department of JSC MSU-90 of the Titan-2 Group.